Stop Food Waste Day : Make Use-By Dates Work for You
Did you know that Tuesday, the 1st of March is National Stop Food Waste Awareness Day?
There are countless ways you can reduce food waste in your own home, but for today we’re asking you to focus on just one simple thing – Make use-by dates work for you!
In our most recent National Food Waste Attitudes Survey, we learned the biggest reason why people throw food away is because it has passed its use-by date. If we all take small, simple actions to use or freeze food before it passes its use-by date, we can take big steps to reduce our food waste.
The Low Down on Use-By Dates:
Use-By dates appear on fresh, ready-to-eat and chilled foods that go off, such as fish and meat, dairy products, and unpasteurised fruit juices. They are a food safety deadline.
After the use-by deadline, bacteria can start to build up in the food, and may not be safe to eat. Food should not be eaten after this date unless it has been frozen. Freezing acts like a pause button so you can eat the food at another time.
Five Ways to Make Use-By Dates Work for You:
- Check use-by dates on food labels – Over 75% of people in our recent survey said that they ‘always or regularly check dates on food labels while shopping’. By doing this, you can check if food will last until you plan to use it.
- Store perishable food properly – Make sure food is stored properly, e.g. cooked meats should be stored in a fridge at 5° Celsius or less. See our A-Z of Foods for storage information and advice on freezing safely.
- Keep track of use-by dates in your fridge – When you look in the fridge, the first thing you need to see are the food items you should eat first – those with shorter use-by deadlines! Place food with longer use-by deadlines behind ‘older’ ones to wait their turn to be eaten.
- Eat food before its use-by deadline is up – You can eat food right up to the end of its use-by date but not after. So, when the countdown is on, take action:
- Eat it!
- Share it with family or friends!
- Try an ‘Eat Me’ share-shelf in your fridge!
- Freeze food right up to its use-by date – If you don’t think you’ll be able to use food within its use-by time, don’t worry! You can safely freeze food right up to the use-by date. Allowing you to eat the food at another time and save you money! Just remember if you froze it on the use-by date, it should be defrosted in the fridge and consumed within 24 hours of defrosting.
How do you make use-by dates work for you?
We want to hear any actions you’re taking to reduce food waste in your family home or house share – tell us using #StopFoodWasteDay and #KnowYourUseBys on social media.
More information and resources are available at stopfoodwaste.ie/
Stop Food Waste is a programme funded under the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP) since 2009.
In light of the significant environmental and social issues arising from the disposal of food waste, and the realisation of the costs associated with this, the EPA set out to promote food waste prevention and home composting.
The Stop Food Waste programme is managed by The Clean Technology Centre (CTC) and involves a multi-disciplinary team, based around the country.
The programme works with householders, communities, schools, local authorities (through the Local Authority Prevention Network (LAPN)), Tidy Towns groups, Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) and businesses, providing comprehensive information about the food we waste and how it can be prevented. As there will always be some unavoidable food waste, the programme also provides training and information on home composting.